For those who are overwhelmed, pressed, stressed and distressed, David teaches us to pray.
The paradox of prayer in distress is this. David doesn’t assume his problems are all from outside of him as attacks directed at him. (Though some are….and some issues are simply a result of living in a fallen world.)
However, in this prayer, His first approach in prayer is to make sure that all is right with God. David cries out from a sincere heart, not assuming God is evil or unfair, but that David needs an answer and a resolution that may require repentance on his part.
David understands, as believers in God that we call upon him as Lord of our lives. Our God and Father disciplines us in love. Discipline in love is a foreign concept in our culture where the word love has been watered down to mean the absence of conflict and presence of happy feelings all the time.
Love is a verb. Love protects. God’s discipline protects us spiritually. At the end of David’s prayer we see the resolution of a broken and contrite heart. God heals and delivers! Here the writer of Hebrews explains this:
“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.”
Hebrews 12:4-17 NIV
Here is David’s Prayer. Take time today to pray this and notice how at the end, after he repents, he claims the release from God to turn back the enemies who are coming against him and to stand in healing.
“Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave? I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.”Psalm 6:1-10 NIV